If you want to consider this episode the first part of the finale, then I was kinda right with my prediction that this season would end with the six getting off the island. I thought the final scene would be the Oceanic 6 coming down the ramp of the cargo plane, but that's probably not dramatic or cliffhanger-y enough to end a season on. Perhaps next week we will see the six leaving in some other way as the Island disappears.
The central issue we are now faced with is how to the 6 get together and get off the Island. Jack is with Sawyer in the jungle. Hurley is with Locke at the Orchid. Sun and Aaron are on the freighter, and Sayid and Kate are now captured by the Others. Is everyone going to end up in the same place, with some giant confrontation, where some decide to leave and others stay? That would be very similar to the beginning of this season, where Locke and Jack fight it out to hide or meet the helicopter. My gut tells me it's more accidental. Desmond and Jin would not decide to stay. Nor is it clear Ben or Locke would want Hurley (or anyone else) to leave.
One thing I am liking about the temporally displaced flashforwards, in addition to the fact that the technique itself is likely a clue to a big Island secret, is that we often see consequences before causes, actions before reasons. In the flashfoward from last night, we see the early stages of Hurley's "madness" and the first sign that the Island hasn't really let the 6 go, with the numbers in the Camaro. We see the reason Jack didn't want to see Aaron after Kate's trial -- Aaron is the visible reminder of his father's infidelity. We also see Sayid's brief reunion with Nadia and know that her death pushed him into Ben's service.
We still need to learn how, exactly, the 6 get off the Island. But other questions remain as well:
- What are the Others up to? Why were they are grubby looking? Are they hanging out at The Temple (wherever that is)?
- Who was Ben signaling with the mirror? What happened to that person? (Nice quip about the crackers, btw).
- What's under The Orchid? How (or does) Locke move the Island?